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RV Travel: Make Road Trips Kid-Friendly and Educational

Traveling with children can be frustrating for adults and kids alike. Parents can do their share in making the time in a car, RV, hotel room, or on a plane go by much faster by planning ahead and providing fun activities for their children: map reading, geography, spelling, manners lessons, word games, etc. There are great ways for kids to partake in educational activities without feeling as though they are in school. Consider the following links for occupying kids time while traveling.

State of Nebraska: Car Activities

This site includes downloadable coloring pages and a large selection of games including highway alphabet soup, back road bingo, the rainbow game, sign finder, cow counter, maze, word search, connect the dots, license plate roundup, city sightings, picture find, and word jumble, all perfect and perfectly themed for the road.

National Atlas: Map Maker

Using this site will allow children and parents alike to be able to create their own maps online, featuring display items including agriculture, biology, boundaries, climate, environment, geology, people, references, and history. There is so much to play with and learn from.

University of Missouri: eThemes: Grammar: Spelling

Here is a comprehensive source for kid-friendly online content, focusing on spelling, grammar, and educational activities.

California Department of Transportation: Kids Page

This page is a great resource with games including find the potholes, Caltrans ‘roadeo’, trivia quiz, bridge designing, travel bingo, an activity book, and educational material on infrastructure.

FedStats: Mapstats for Kids

Links and graphics perfect for educating children on maps and statistics by using games, colors for painting maps, and fun strategy activities: the network challenge, market manager, and data to graphics.

Library of Congress: Everyday Mysteries

This site features fun science facts including random animal trivia, perfect for an educational and interesting drive.

Williamson County Schools: Oak View Elementary: Spelling Games

This site features a perfect kid-friendly game for road trips and flights alike.

U.S. Census Bureau: Fact Finder Kids’ Corner

Kides can easily get information on the U.S. Census and all 50 states with this fun quiz. It also includes quick facts, and information on the U.S. Census in simple words that kids can understand.

U.S. Government Printing Office: Ben’s Guide to U.S. Government for Kids

A fun and informative guide to the U.S. made specifically for children including basic map reading from North America.

U.S. Department of State for Youth: Where In the World is the Secretary?

Similar to the Carmen San Diego show, this interactive map follows Secretary Clinton as she travels throughout the world. It allows traveling children the opportunity to track their own travels on the map with markers.

Central Intelligence Agency: Kids’ Page

This area of the CIA’s website allows children to play games, use coloring books, and go on code breaking missions. There is world exploration software, and games called aerial analysis challenge and photo challenge.

Penn State University: Take the stress out of family road trips

Another article on fun road trips specifically geared for families of children. With tips such as providing bubbles, puppets, projects and journals, these age appropriate ideas should be a great resource for families on long journeys.

Bank Street College’s Guide to Literacy for volunteers and tutors: Writing Activities

Parents can try out these simple and fun activities. All they need is to give their kids a pencil and a pad of paper. With a little direction and proper encouragement, kids should be distracted for a long time.

North Carolina State University: Activity Guide Ages 5 to 8: Manners Matter

This guide is the perfect outline for parents to discuss manners using age appropriate social lingo with their children. If the kids are a little older, there are tabs for ages 9-12 and 13-19, as well.

Stanford University: Traveling with Children… Things to Remember: Developmental Considerations

Here is a generous resource, with a fantastic reminder checklist for all parents prior to any travel with children.

Walden University: Teaching Kids Manners

Perfect for parents to review when hoping to teach age appropriate manners and etiquette to their children. This site provides a great read for a long trip.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh: Traveling with Children

Here is another great resource for parents to review before, during, and after a trip with kids.

Penn State University: Building Strong Families: Traveling with Kids

This is an article with different travel tips for parents provided by the Better Kid Care Program.

Baby Center: Road Trip Survival Guide

This article gives tips on traveling with children from infancy to 3 ½ years of age.

eHOW: How to Travel with Children

This gives tips on traveling with kids by car and by airplane.

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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

31 Strangest Places to Sleep

Road warriors are accustomed to hunkering down in some unusual places. Wal-Mart parking lot? No problem. In a random guy’s driveway? Even better. We can get forty winks anywhere, anytime.

But have you ever stayed in one of these wacky, outrageous, and totally strange locales? From odd RVs and weird RV parks to the just plain uncomfortable, our list of the 31 strangest places to sleep makes dozing off on a park bench seem perfectly normal.

  1. Inside the Amphibious RV
    Amphibious RV

    You’ve been asking for years: “When are they going to make an RV that floats?” For 1.2 million dollars, you can take to the high seas in your Amphibious RV, where you can fish all day from your couch.

  2. With 20 Strangers
    Amphibious RV

    Want to sleep strange? Curl up in this tour bus – it’s like a frat house on wheels. We recommend not being the first person to pass out.

  3. Inside this Crazy Camper
    Weird RV

    Settle down for a nice nap in this camper. It might be bumpy, but getting your friend to pull you along while you snooze in the back is worth the rough ride. We hate to see what happens if he gets rear-ended.

  4. At the Trailer Park Taj Mahal
    Trailer Taj Mahal

    It’s the third wonder of the RV world (right behind Kadie the Cow and Corn Palace. The RV Taj Mahal stands five Winnebagos high and features 8 satellite dishes, 32 lawn chairs and a flock of plastic pink flamingos. Running water coming soon.

  5. At the Flintstone Campground
    Bedrock Campgrounds

    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! Rock out like Fred and Wilma at the Bedrock Campgrounds in Williams, Arizona.

  6. In Slab City, On-Top of Salvation Mountain
    Salvation Mountain

    Salvation Mountain in California is a strangely beautiful (albeit garish) tribute to Jesus. It’s said to be one of the only RV campgrounds left that are completely free.

    Leonard Knight, the eccentric creator of Salvation Mountain, will happily give you a tour.

    Claim to fame: This strange place to sleep was featured in the 2007 film Into the Wild.

  7. In the Buff at the Pines, a Nudist RV Park
    Nudist RV Park

    Think you’ve seen everything on your travels? Think again. Sleep in the buff in a pine bluff at the Pines RV Park. Don’t worry about closing those blinds. Naked is normal!

  8. Next to Yogi Bear in Jellystone Park
    Yogi Bear

    Bring your RV and camp with Yogi and Bobo! Surprisingly, Jellystone Park locations stretch across the country, making them the second largest campground franchise in the United States.

  9. In a WalMart Parking Lot
    WalMart Parking

    Sleeping in the Wal-Mart parking lot is a rite of passage for road warriors. But it’s definitely strange to those who have never RVed before.

    Tip: Most Wal-Mart stores welcome RV overnight parking, and many have security. It is good etiquette to ask the store manager for permission, and don’t rollout the awning or put out lawn furniture: low key is the key. http://www.cruising-america.com/rv.html

  10. Where Lord of the Rings was Filmed
    Lord of The Rings

    You won’t be catching ZZZs with Frodo, but you can sleep in the shadow of where Lord of the Rings was filmed, at the Franz Josef Top 10 Holiday Park on South Island, New Zealand

    That’s not the only unusual thing about this RV Park. It’s surrounded by glaciers, kiwis, kayaking spots and near the highest peak in New Zealand.

  11. Siberia
    Siberia

    Pokrovskoye, Siberia the hometown of Grigori Rasputin. In Siberia you can camp anywhere on the side of the road, but there is apparently lots of trash, and sometimes isn’t very safe. So lock your RV door!

  12. With Ghosts
    Ghosts

    Sportsman’s RV Park in Libby, Montana is haunted. “It is said that many aimless souls lost their lives waiting for work at the site, camping in the woods when they could not afford a stay at the Inn. There is also a tale that every spring, thunderstorms bring about the shadowy figure of a ghost that wears a hooded poncho as he floats above the ground.” Boo!

  13. Where the Buffalo Roam
    Where the Buffalo Roam

    Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. It’s an island. With buffalo. In Great Salt Lake. The chances that you’ll wake up to a beast that’s almost the size of your RV makes this one wild locale and worthy of our sleep strange list.

  14. At the Feet of a Giant
    Jolly Green Giant

    Take a rest under the protective eyes of Jolly Green Giant. Boondock for 48 hours at the Blue Earth, Minnesota fairgrounds. Wake up refreshed and craving green beans.

  15. At Turn 4: The Daytona 500
    The Daytona 500

    People wait their entire lives to hitch up at turn four of The Great American Race. Bring the earplugs – stockcars whiz by turn four at over 150 miles per hour for 200 laps.

  16. Have Nightmares at Camp Crystal Lake
    Camp Crystal Lake

    Established in Starke, Florida since 1948, Camp Crystal Lake is known for its canoeing, rope climbing and camp counselor slaughtering from a machete-wheedling maniac. One would think being associated with the camp from the Friday the 13th horror franchise might hurt business, but camp directors say attendance only falls a few brief weekends a year.

  17. In the middle of the desert
    In the middle of the desert

    Strange things happen out in the desert in the middle of the night. You’re practically guaranteed one weird experience, whether it’s a UFO landing on your rooftop or meeting the Mafia.

  18. Place with the Strangest Name
    Place with the Strangest Name

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales. Fall asleep counting letters and counting sheep in the town with the longest place name in Europe. You’ll live to tell the tale. But you will never be able to pronounce the name.

  19. On the Edge of the Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon

    Fantastic views; not awesome parking. Bring a deck of cards because you’re not doing much else when you make it to the top of this Wile E. Coyote cliff.

  20. In a Capsule
    In a Capsule

    And you thought sleeping in an RV was cramped! Wait until you try the Sleep Boxes in the Dubai Airport. These 12′ x 9′ x 15′ walk-in coffins offer WiFi, an LCD TV and nearly enough headroom to stand.

  21. In a Capsule, on Water
    In a Capsule, on Water

    Think you’ll doze delightfully in a capsule? How does sleeping in an oil rig survival pod float your boat? This hotel in The Hague is not for the claustrophobic-aquaphobic.

  22. Sleep Sacred
    Sleep Sacred

    You may have fallen asleep in church before (be honest!), but that doesn’t count. Touted as an “uplifting experience,” the Old Church of Urquhart in Scotland is one sacred place to dream.

  23. Doze Off on the Door to Hell
    Door to Hell

    Bunker down on top of the “door to hell” in Uzbekistan. You won’t need a blanket.

  24. On the Side of a Truck Car
    Side of Truck
    Don’t they look comfy?
  25. While Hunting
    Hunting

    You should decide early on if “hunting” means actively looking for animals to shoot. Or catching a wink while an animal preys on your lunch.

  26. On a RickShaw
    Rickshaw

    It’s not an RV. But a rickshaw makes a good napping place.

  27. On a SeeSaw
    Seesaw

    There’s nothing like a good nap after a hard day’s play.

  28. Inside a Beagle
    Beagle

    You’ve heard of the beagle that snoozes on top of the dog house. But did you know you can conk out inside of a giant beagle?

  29. Inside a Tauntaun
    Inside a Tauntaun

    Check out the light saber zipper! Slice open your favorite creature from Hoth and crawl into the intestines imprint liner.. Now you can finally find out how bad they smell… on the inside.

  30. Inside a Submarine
    Inside a Submarine

    Sack out inside a submarine. It’s pitch black. Pretty cold. Probably boring .The perfect place to sleep!

  31. While CliffHanging
    While CliffHanging

    Don’t toss. Or turn. Just stay completely still.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Activities On the Road

 

Adventure Calls: 117 Things to Add to Your RV bucket list

Hail, ye fellow Road Warriors! Adventure is calling – but where to go first? Whether hitting the pavement as a first-timer or as an asphalt veteran, it’s time to get inspired by this big and beautiful country we live in. Check off these 117 must-see locales while you’re cruising in your “road house” before you kick the bucket.

    1. Experience the first rays of sun before anyone else in America. In the fall, drive or hike up Cadillac Mountain on Maine’s Mt. Desert Island.
      • Travel Tip: Stay and enjoy Acadia National Park at the Mt. Desert Narrows Campground, whose sister campground, Narrows Too, is Big Rig friendly.
    1. Determine which coastal New England town hosts the best crab cakes.
    2. Ride the oldest working carousel in the country. Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
      • Travel Tip: Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground is the only campground on the island.
    3. Buy a lobster off a lobstering boat in a coastal marina.
    4. Cruise the winding roads of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire when autumn is in full swing.
    1. Drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC. Deck out the RV in patriotic decorations: flags, streamers, ribbons. Play the national anthem as loud as you can. Wave to children.
      • Travel Tip: The closest RV Park/Campground to Washington D.C. is Cherry Hill Park. College Park, Maryland.
    2. Spend a peaceful evening listening to the loons in the Adirondacks.
    1. Eat a pizza in Mystic, Connecticut.
    2. Take a picture next to each of Saratoga Springs’ 34 horse statues. Saratoga Springs, New York.
      • Travel Tip: Whispering Pines Campsites & RV Park is picturesque and minutes away from Saratoga Springs.
    3. Have a paper airplane throwing contest on North Carolina’s Outer Banks in honor of the Kitty Hawk.
    4. Cook a gourmet meal in your RV.
    5. Get drenched at Niagara Falls.
    1. Go whale watching off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
    2. Pick blueberries in the eastern-most town in the United States: Lubec, Maine.
    3. Drive over the highest vehicular bridge in the Americas: New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, West Virginia. Don’t look down!
    1. Discover why New Jersey is called the Garden State. Drive through southern New Jersey and along the Appalachian Trail.
    2. Roll the dice in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
    1. Meander down Ashley River Road through Charleston, South Carolina.
    2. Collect some blue grass in Kentucky. Press it in a journal or book.
    3. Invite Mickey and Minnie to dinner in your RV. Or at least get their autographs.
      • Travel Tip: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort is a boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom.
    4. Look for a green light at the end of a dock where The Great Gatsby was filmed. Rosecliff Mansion, Newport, Rhode Island.
    1. Camp on the beach. Edisto Island, South Carolina.
    2. Time your West Virginia road trip to coincide with a meteor shower. Drive until there are no lights and stay up all night.
    3. Savannah, Georgia is voted Top 50 Most Romantic Cities in America. Go there. Go on a date.
      • Travel Tip: Stay for a night or two in Fort McAllister Historic Park – Richmond Hill Campground.
    1. Take a winter Vermont trip! Ski the bunny hills (or double black diamond runs) at Stowe, indulge in free ice cream samples at the Ben & Jerry’s factory near Waterbury, walk down Church Street Marketplace in Burlington.
    2. Time your stay on Chesapeake’s Eastern Shore with the migration of the birds south for the winter. Many pass right through the Atlantic Flyaway.
      • Travel Tip: Chesapeake View Campground is the perfect place to put up your feet after a long day of bird watching.
    3. Try spelunking – or just going for a walk – in Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world. Central Kentucky.
    1. Touch the one-of-a-kind rock formations in Tishomingo State Park driving along scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, in Tishomingo County, Mississippi.
    2. Sell some trinkets in the World’s Longest Yard Sale – the 127 Corridor Sale – in early August. 654 miles, starting in West Unity, Ohio and ending in Gadsden, Alabama.
    3. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from Virginia to North Carolina.
    1. Park your rig at the 411 Drive-In for a night of old-fashioned movie fun. Leesburg, Alabama.
    2. Vote on your favorite float for Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
      • Travel Tip: Looking for a place to stay? Try Riverboat Travel Park, only a few miles from the French Quarter.
    3. Eat a peach while touring the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site. Atlanta, Georgia.
    4. Count the wildlife you see in the Everglades. Be wary of alligators.
    5. Take a picture on the observation tower at Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
      • Travel Tip: There is no entry fee to the park – one of the only National Parks in the country without one.
    1. Glue some rhinestones to the soles of your shoes and tour Graceland. Memphis, Tennessee.
    2. Blast “Coat of Many Colors” and cruise through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, home of Dollywood.
    3. Get lucky in Kentucky. Bet on a horse at Churchill Downs. Louisville, Kentucky.
    4. Take a picture by the Southermost Point Buoy. Key West, Florida.
      • Travel Tip: Word of mouth is that, while hard to find at night, El Mar RV Resort is the most cost effective in this expensive region.
    5. Chase a tornado in Kansas. Or err on the side of caution and visit a local weather center.
    6. Ditch the RV and take a buggy ride through Amish Country. Shreve, Ohio.
      • Travel Tip: Think about staying at Whispering Hills RV Park. It’s a good thought, isn’t it?
    7. Wash your hair in the water fall at Ash Cave. Hocking Hills, Ohio.
    1. Bring the beer and burgers! Tailgate a Buckeye football game. Columbus, Ohio.
      • Travel Tip: The Schottenstein Center in the Buckeye lots is a great spot for Ohio State Tailgating.
    2. Hibernate under the stars at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, Michigan.
    3. Voyage through Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota.
    4. Be devilish! Skinny dip in Devils Lake. Baraboo, Wisconsin.
    1. Ride down the Magnificent Mile. Blast your favorite song and wave to all the shoppers. On your way out of the city, cruise down Lake Shore Drive. Chicago, Illinois.
    2. There’s no place like home! Wear sparkly red shoes and click your heels three times in Kansas.
    3. Park your RV for a day. Bike to the ferry terminal at Mackinac Island, Michigan, where no cars are allowed.
      • Travel Tip: Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping is close by and is a favorite amongst travelers.
    4. Take a tour of Abe Lincoln’s house. Observe the size of his home compared to your RV. Springfield, Illinois.
    5. Stroll through the Garden of Gods at dawn in Shawnee National Forest. Southern Illinois.
      • Travel Tip: Oak Point is a campground located right in the Shawnee National Forest
    1. Run the bases at the Field of Dreams. Dyersville, Iowa.
    2. Drive your RV under the St. Louis Arch and beep your horn. As much as you would like.
    3. Get all dolled up and see a Country show in Branson, Missouri.
    4. One hump or two? Trek through the West Texas Sand Dunes in Monahans Sandhills State Park on a camel. Watch out, they spit.
    5. Eat a hamburger under the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle. Collinsville, Illinois.
    6. Dance barefoot in a sunflower field in the Sunflower State (Kansas).
    1. Snap your RV’s photo in front of Carhenge. Create your own miniature Carhenge out of toy cars. Alliance, Nebraska.
    2. Spelunk at Wind Cave National Park. Hot Springs, South Dakota.
    3. Hang your shoes on the shoe tree off US 50 in Nevada.
    4. Read lines from Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. Follow the Mississippi from North to South in your car for one day and see how far you can get.
    5. Get your kicks on Route 66! Drive the historic route from Oklahoma to New Mexico.
    1. Go batty! View the World’s Largest Urban Bat Colony. Wear a hat. Austin, Texas.
    2. See the buffalo roam by taking the Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway in South Dakota.
    3. Meet an extraterrestrial. Visit Roswell and Corona, New Mexico.
    4. Remember the Alamo? Attend an Alamo reenactment. San Antonio, Texas.
    1. Get lost. Find an unmarked road on your map and follow it for a few hours.
    2. Eat dinner with our Forefathers. Park your RV within sight of Mt. Rushmore and nosh on your favorite American cuisine.
      • Travel Tip: Hill City is a convenient place to park, plug in and see everything.
    1. Be bad! Drive your RV 5-miles over the speed limit through the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway.
    2. Go crazy! Gallop a horse up to the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
    3. Stock up on supplies at Wall Drug. Wall, South Dakota.
    4. Have a photo shoot at Cadillac Ranch. Amarillo, Texas.
    1. Cruise the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, windows down, and don’t stop until you spot an Elvis.
      • Travel Tip: The Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort is nearly as decadent as The Strip itself!
    2. For one whole day, avoid the interstate and take the back roads in North Dakota.
    3. Take your little house on the Prairie. Go on a pilgrimage from Missouri to South Dakota and stop at least 3 of the 8 Wilder Destinations – Independence, Kansas (Little House on the Prairie), Walnut Grove, Minnesota (On the Banks of Plum Creek) and De Smet, South Dakota. Don’t miss the Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, built by Wilder and her husband and where Wilder wrote the Little House books.
    4. Pretend you’re a cowboy or cowgirl for a day. Camp out in the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming.
      • Travel Tip: Big Horn Mountains Campground claims to be the closet campground to the Big Horn Mountains.
    1. Ride the Million Dollar Highway in western Colorado.
    2. Salute the brave American pooches and their handlers at the West Coast War Dog Memorial outside of the March Field Air Force Base. Riverside, California.
    3. Pack some extra sweaters and head up to Fairbanks come winter. Witness the Northern Lights in all their glory.
    4. Experience the sights and sounds of a concert at the Gorge in George, Washington.
    1. Visit the Seven Feathers RV Resort, said to be one of the finest RV resorts in the United State.
      • Travel Tip: Free WiFi, indoor swimming pool and spa, designer patios, and a casino resort complex all reside at the Seven Feathers.
    2. Embrace unobstructed views of ocean sunsets at the Doran Beach Regional Park just north of San Francisco, California.
    3. Ride the Alaska Ferry into Haines Hitch-Up RV Park and view the breathtaking scenery of the Last Frontier. Haines, Alaska.
    4. Take a ride down on of the most beautiful highways in the world – Highway 1. Visit the Hearst Castle. San Simeon, California.
    1. Enjoy the abundant wildflowers when you make your spring visit to Sequoia National Park. Near Visalia, California.
    2. Get blow away by the Old Faithful Geyser of California, which erupts every 45 minutes. Calistoga, CA.
    3. Go wine tasting through the vineyards of Walla Walla, Washington.
    4. See one of Arizona’s most remote and most beautiful state parks. Alamo Lake State Park, western Arizona.
      • Travel Tip: At the dead end of a 40-mile desert road, you’ll find of the most coveted spots for warm water fishing and green desert plant life.
    1. Visit one of the largest galleries of vintage coin operated mechanical music makers, strength testers and fortune testers at the Musée Mecanique. San Francisco, California.
    2. Go water skiing on Lake Coeur d’Alene at the ultra modern Coeur d’Alene RV Resort. Post Falls, Idaho.
    3. Camp just outside of Disneyland at the Anaheim Harbor RV Park and walk to the Magic Kingdom just in time for the opening ceremony on Main Street U.S.A. Anaheim, California.
    4. Take a boat trip down the Snake River through Hell’s Canyon. Baker City, Oregon.
    1. Camp at the historic United States fort in Fort Flagler State Park. Near Port Townsend, Washington.
    2. Stop by the National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military in front of the USS Midway in San Diego, CA.
    3. View the largest ocean of volcanic lava flows in the continental United States at the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. Arco, Idaho.
      • Travel Tip: There are no hookups or showers on site, but you can find large campsites 18 miles east of the preserve.
    4. Take a ride down a natural water chute at Slide Rock State Park. Sedona, Arizona.
    5. Experience the awe-inspiring fury of Yosemite Falls at the Yosemite National Park in east-central California.
      • Travel Tip: Make your reservations well in advance. While it is possible to camp at Yosemite National Park without a reservation, it’s best to make a reservation up to 6 months in advance with the National Park Service.
    1. Eat a breakfast burrito with “Christmas” chili at Tia Sofia’s. Santa Fe, New Mexico.
    2. Enjoy the Apple Blossom Festival in a Bavarian getaway. Leavenworth, Washington.
    3. Take a picture of the painted badlands from the Kachina Point Lookout. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona.
    1. Sip on wine in the hidden Oregon vineyards of Rogue Valley.
      • Travel Tip: Take a side trip to Crater Lake an hour east or coastal redwood forest two hours west.
    2. Trek through the self-guided Lava Flow Nature Trail at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Coconino County, Arizona.
    3. Go biking around the rolling coastline of the San Juan Islands, Washington.
    4. Join a snowball fight in July. Mount Rainier, Washington.
    1. Hike the Alpine Ridge Trail in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Northern Colorado.
    2. Go tubing down the Yampa River. Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
    3. Learn the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite when you visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Near Carlsbad, New Mexico.
    1. Hunt for prehistoric fossils at the Dinosaur National Monument. Moffat County, Utah.
    2. Drive by the world’s largest thermometer. Baker, California.
    3. Say hello to the giant Apatosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex off I-10. Cabazon, California.
    1. Get stuck in the Le Brea Tar Pits. Los Angeles, California.
    2. Take a stop at Dinosaur Town, complete with volcano toilets. Granger, Washington.
    3. Venture into the Wild West when you pass through a historic (and haunted) ghost town. Garnet, Montana.
    1. Witness the Cathedral of the Bomb at Historic Nuclear Reactor B. Hanford, Washington.
    2. Retrace the steps of two famous explorers when you travel to the coast on the Lewis and Clark Trail.
    3. Venture through the only temperate rainforest in the world. Olympic National Park, Washington.
      • Travel Tip: Elwah Dam RV Park was rated “Best RV Park by a Dam Site” in 2003.
    4. Take a dip in the Boiling River – Yellowstone National Park’s most popular natural soaking area. Near Gardiner, Montana.

Once you check off this bucket list, start another one. See you on the road!

 

Top 10 RV Destinations

Answer the call of the open road. The RV road trip is a long-standing American tradition; traveling the nation’s (and our neighbors’) highways and byways and sleeping on the road. Whether it is a grand getaway for a few weeks or a short trip of a few days, settle into one of these Top 10 RV destinations:

1. Madison Arm Resort – West Yellowstone, Montana

RV trip in South Dakota Highlight: Located eight miles from Yellowstone National Park.

The campground itself lies on the shores of Hebgen Lake, home to trout-filled waters. Wildlife in the region is plentiful – day sightings of bison and elk are not uncommon. A trip to Big Sky country wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Yellowstone National Park and there are great Montana maps to help navigate the way. Madison Arm Resort offers a getaway from the often–overcrowded site of Yellowstone itself. Drive along Grand Loop Road, watch Old Faithful and gaze over the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. The perfect road trip for couples, families and friends.

2. Tunnel Mountain Campground – Banff National Park, Canada

Highlight: Located at the top of Tunnel Mountain with views of the sprawling countryside.

Huddled at the top of a mountain sits Tunnel Mountain Campground in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Winter adventures and activities abound at this RV resort and campground – or throw on some extra layers and head north to the Rockies and Banff National Park. The area’s powdered slopes will challenge skiers and snowmobilers, and hikers and cyclists will adore the glaciers, mineral hot springs and ice fields. The campground offers trolley service to the cozy town of Banff (a true winter wonderland) as well as food, laundry and a water slide close by.

3. Verde Valley – Cottonwood, Arizona

Highlight: Surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Red Rocks to the north, Mingus Mountains to the west and the Hackberry Mountains to the south.

This 300-acre oasis is located in the high desert of Arizona under the towering southwestern rim of the vast Colorado Plateau. The valley’s main city, Sedona, is blessed with four mild seasons marked by abundant sunshine and clean air.  Characterized by massive red-rock formations, as well as other amazing natural beauties, the area surrounding Sedona is considered to be as beautiful as many national parks. Verde Valley is situated on the Verde River and surrounded by rich geological and cultural history.

4. Pacific Dunes Ranch RV Resort – Oceano, California

Highlight: Nestled among the dunes of the beautiful Oceano Preserve, offering  breathtaking vistas and trails to the beach.

Pismo Beach Oceano is rich in geographic, archaeological and cultural history. Pacific Dunes Resort offers stunning views in a secluded and quiet – but not remote – location. Guests of the Ranch enjoy nearby off–road recreation, horse rentals and boarding facilities, large BBQ areas and magnificent Pacific Coast sunsets at Pismo Beach area’s most unique RV resort.

5. Boyd’s Key West Campground – Key West, Florida

Highlight: Ocean front campsites, saltwater fishing, on site Tiki Hut and a heated swimming pool.

Travel three hours down Route 1 from Miami to the tropical Florida Keys and find an RV island oasis. Offering oceanfront RV sites, campers will be drawn to the quiet, laid-back style of Boyd’s. Located near Duval Street, travelers can relax with a frothy margarita and enjoy Mallory Square’s sunset celebration, where tightrope walkers, jugglers and fire-eaters provide nightly entertainment.

6. Mt. Hood Village RV Resort – Welches, Oregon

Highlight: Timberline, located in Mt. Hood National Forest, is the only location in the United States to offer year-round skiing and snowboarding.

The Village has come to be known throughout the industry as the premier RV destination in the Northwest. Fun and adventure for all ages can be found within minutes of Mt. Hood Village. A 27-hole golf course, groomed hiking trails, rock climbing, mountain biking, miniature golf, fishing, campgrounds, lakes and streams, and the Alpine Slide are just a few of the activities found in Mt. Hood National Forest in the summertime. Within the Village, guests will find many amenities and activities, including the Huckleberry Festival, Wild Mushroom Festival and Salmon Bake Festival held each year at the resort.

7. Mt. Desert Narrows Camping Resort – Bar Harbor, Maine

Highlight: Lobster dinners, ice cream socials and pancake breakfasts!

The Narrows Campground offers panoramic ocean views and waterfront campsites. As New England’s only National Park, much of the regions most scenic views are found on Mt. Desert Island by driving Acadia National Park’s 27-mile “Park Loop Road.”  Take a hike in Acadia National Park, bike or stroll the carriage roads or go whale watching – the activities at Mt. Desert Narrows are endless. Don’t miss Maine lobster in July and August!

8. O’Connells Yogi Bear RV Resort – Amboy, Illinois

Highlight: The perfect RV trip for All-American families with young children.

Looking to experience a slice of true Americana? Point your wheels toward Northern Illinois, home of some of the finest fishing, hiking, golfing, natural scenic wonders, and wildlife America has to offer. O’Connells Yogi Bear RV Resort is perfectly located just 90 miles west of Chicago and offers heated swimming pools, kiddie pools, spas and beach swimming. With Yogi Bear appearances, Candy Bar Bingo and weekly evening events, it is the ideal escape for family fun.

9. Horse Thief Lake Campground – Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

Highlight: Close proximity to Mt. Rushmore, with excellent views from the resort.

Horse Thief’s central location makes it easy to enjoy the best the Black Hills have to offer: Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and much more. Great location to partake in many activities such as rock climbing, photography, exploring ghost towns, mines and caves, biking, hiking, water sports, fishing and more.

10. Rivers Edge RV Park – Fairbanks, Alaska

Highlight: Located in Fairbanks, the geographic and population hub of Alaska, surrounded by beautiful scenery and in close proximity to all of Northern Alaska’s wonders.

Rivers Edge RV Park is located on the shores of the Chena River in Fairbanks, Alaska. Acclaimed as one of Alaska’s premier parks, the amenities offered by the park are nearly unparalleled. Rivers Edge offers a free shuttle service to Riverboat Discovery and the Alaska Salmon Bake, among other conveniences. Enjoy travels along the famous Alaska Highway and learn the history of this beautiful state through attractions such as Alaskaland, with fresh Alaskan salmon served up at the Salmon Bakes. Follow the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline on a motor coach excursion or take a paddle wheeler day cruise to capture a glimpse into the state’s past.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Destinations & Campgrounds

 

Road Trip: Ways to Save

Even in these tight economic times, a road trip is still the way to go! Recent research shows RVing is typically 27-61% less expensive than other vacations, according to studies comparing vacation costs.

With an increase in fuel prices, food and other necessities it is more important than ever to watch spending and cut back on unnecessary luxuries. Vacation doesn’t need to be one of them! With these tips for saving money and cutting costs you’ll be on the road and headed for a fabulous vacation in no time. Check out our guide to the Top 10 RV Destinations for RV trip ideas.

Before You Go

RV driving on the open road. First, it is important to make the RV as efficient as possible. The following tips can assure safe and speedy travels, as well as save some money along the way:

The Driver: Planning trips ahead of time and using a GPS device while on the road can save unnecessary and unwanted time spent driving in search of an unknown destination. While driving, be sure to keep windows rolled up on highways and cut down on aggressive driving to preserve fuel economy. Also, be sure to research gas prices before the trip to know the best places to fill up to save time and money.

The Engine: Before you leave get the engine a tune-up to make sure everything is in proper, working order. A change of spark plugs, oil and replacement of the air filters can assure maximum motor efficiency.

Weight: Lighten your load. Empty holding tanks of any unneeded items and pack only the essentials.

Tires: Check tire pressure and wheel alignment. One of the most overlooked opportunities to save money is properly inflating tires. Adequately inflated tires help save gas mileage, prevent accidents and increase the life of tires.

Shopping: When shopping on the road, stop and shop at local discount stores. The best way to save money is to stock up on essential items in bulk before you go. Have meal fixings on the road with you, to save from stopping for fast food and other restaurant meals while on the go.

While On The Road

Don’t Go So Far: Some of the best RV destinations may be closer to home than you’d think. Aim to visit a destination on one tank of gas or in your home state.

Take Games: Take your own games on the trip to save money on entertainment. Pack board games, play cards and classic road trip games like the “license plate game” for a free way to entertain the entire family.

Camp Smart: To save on propane costs, consider using Resort and Campground facilities for hot water and during cold weather camping or cold summer nights use an extra blanket instead of extra heat. Save money camping as well. Join an RV Club – many offer discounts for various campgrounds across the nation (up to 50%!)

Leave the Extra Vehicle At Home: Save money on extra transportation costs by leaving a spare vehicle at home. Not only will this save fuel economy by not having a heavy item to tow behind the RV, it will save extra transportation gas money.

RV vacations continue to be affordable based on savings in the areas of hotel, airfare and restaurant costs. These savings together, offset the cost of fuel. Shorter RV vacations are also more economical.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

Prepare For Spring & Summer RV Travels

Spring is quickly approaching – is your RV ready for the first trip of the season? Preseason preparation is key to making sure your first road trip of the season goes smoothly. The following information, advice and tips will hopefully help you prepare early for a season filled with seamless RV adventures.

Motorhome trip during the spring

Tire Safety:

Make sure your tires are road-ready. The first, and one of the most important things to check, is tire pressure. Maintaining manufacturer specified tire pressure increases safety and saves money by improving gas mileage. Next, check tire tread. Confirm that there is 1/32” tread left on the tire and check all sides for cracks, extensive wearing or cuts. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the spare.

Propane System:

Preseason is the perfect time to fill bottles or tanks and check for leaks. You can spray a leak detector (available at most hardware stores) or soapy water around the connections and regulator. It is important to remember never to overfill propane tanks. Propane expands and contracts drastically with temperature changes. Any vessel holding propane should not be filled more than 80% to allow for expansion.

Annual Services:

It would be a good idea to have a certified technician perform essential annual services of the system and appliances. Have the battery system checked; replace dead batteries and have electrolyte levels checked and topped off as needed. Have the generator serviced with an oil and filter change. Have your wheel bearings repacked and brake system checked for proper working operation.

Roof Care:

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your recreational vehicle’s roof will help prevent leaks and water damage. On your own, inspect the roof for overall condition and check for any places in need of repair. Check all seals, seems, vents, skylights, roof top antennas and other accessories. Contact a professional for necessary repairs before heading out on the open road with a worn roof.

Awning:

On a sunny, early spring day extend your RV’s awning to check for mold and mildew. Trapped water over the course of the winter may cause mildew which can damage and stain the awning fabric. Mild dish detergent works as a cleaning agent for vinyl fabric, for canvas or cloth an RV dealer can provide an appropriate cleaner. Be sure to allow the awning to fully dry before retracting.

A/C Units:

An important part of comfort during warm spring and hot summer months travel is air conditioning. Preseason is a great time to check A/C units and restore all to proper working order. On the roof, visually inspect the condition of the cover and the fins on the back side of the air conditioner. If you have a good power supply, turn on the air conditioner and run it for 10 or 15 minutes to ensure that it is cooling.

Framework Checks:

Check for needed structure services. Check engine oil, coolant, power steering, brake and transmission fluid levels, top off the windshield washing fluid reservoir and replace windshield wiper blades as needed.

Emergency Alarms:

An important working part of your RV is the emergency alarm. Regularly check the batteries in smoke, carbon monoxide and propane detectors. Double check that your fire extinguisher is fully charged and ready to use in case of emergency.

For ease and accuracy, taking your RV to the dealership or other certified technician is a great way to get a thorough preseason check. By performing these assessments in March or April you will allow yourself a full and trouble-free spring and summer RVing.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos

 

Guide To Towing Behind Your RV

Ofen times, enjoying the thrill of the open road traveling by RV includes towing another vehicle, boat or off-road toys behind you. This is often called “dinghy towing” and is very popular among RVers today. Motorhomes continue to grow in size, stature and luxury and life on the road has never been more comfortable. Follow this complete guide to towing behind your motorhome for seamless travel while towing.

Traveling with an extra vehicle, or “dinghy,” is practically a given in today’s age of large motorcoaches. Admittedly, parking at the grocery store or turning around in the parking lot isn’t fun in a 40-footer. A dinghy simplifies such tasks and alleviates the need to break camp for a jug of milk. Dinghy’s also provide an extra vehicle in case of emergency and extra storage space if you fill the RV storage.

Towing a dinghy does come at a cost. Towing will affect acceleration, fuel economy and braking of any RV to a certain degree. Proper selection of a dinghy and the correct equipment will allow you to safely and efficiently enjoy the benefits of a supplementary vehicle.

The first step in selecting a dinghy to tow is to check that the manufacturer has approved the vehicle for flat towing. Most passenger cars and light trucks can be used as a dinghy with the proper tow packages.

Proper dinghy preparation, from auxiliary braking systems to lights, are essential for safe RV travel. It is crucially important to prepare your dinghy with the proper equipment for towing, this can be done yourself or with the help of a certified towing equipment dealer. One of the most important
aspects of dinghy prep involves connecting the wiring between the two vehicles. Tail, brake and turn signals on the back of the dinghy are required in all 50 states and all Canadian provinces, so this isn’t a step that you can overlook.

The equipment used to tow small passenger vehicles, light trucks or boats behind motorhomes typically does not need extensive maintenance. Grease on the hitch ball will usually meet your needs when a tow bar is used. Wheel bearings should be repacked every year on a tow dolly, and if the dolly has brakes, they should be inspected annually. The most important aspects for safe towing are the necessary equipment, installed and used properly, along with vigilance.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in RV Camping Tips & How Tos